With Easter being so late this year, it almost feels like beginning Lent on March 9 is joining the party after it already started. But every calendar I own tells me that today is the day.

While Lent isn't my favourite in the liturgical calendar {Advent is pretty hard to beat}, I have come to appreciate Lent for what it is: a time of preparation, self-examination, and repentance before we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

Lent is usually marked by fasting, most notably something sweet. But for someone like me, giving up chocolate and sweets would be kind of like most other people giving up broccoli. To prove my point, there is a container of Caramilk Mini Eggs sitting just beside my left hand as i type this. It has been there since Friday, and i have only eaten two so far.

{In the interest of full-disclosure, i will say that a bag of potato chips is far from safe in my presence…}

Once again, this year for Lent, I'm giving up my favourite diversions. Those things that keep me from doing the hard work of self-examination, keep me from paying attention to what goes on in and around me, keep me from doing the things that I know I should be doing. So, once again, I am turning down the noise, and turning up the quiet, the silence, the solitude that too often I convince myself that I don't really need.

My two companions for this journey are Eastertide: Prayers for Lent Through Easter from The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle, and Devotions For Lent, from the Mosaic Holy Bible. It is from the latter that I will share with you a beautiful poem that sums up the way I begin this Lenten season.
—Frederick Ohler, Better than Nice and Other Unconventional Prayers

Great and holy God
awe and reverence
fear and trembling
do not come easily to us
for we are not
Old Testament Jews
or Moses
or mystics
or sensitive enough.
Forgive us
for slouching into Your presence
with little expectation
and less awe
than we would eagerly give a visiting dignitary.
We need
neither Jehovah nor a buddy—
neither "the Great and Powerful Oz" nor "the man upstairs."
Help us
to want what we need…
and may the altar of our hearts
tremble with delight
Your visitation
May I emerge from these 40 days a different person than I am today.


bellaverita said...

"Help us to want what we need...You God and may the altar of our hearts tremble with delight at your visitation."

What a great line; one that resonates with me. Thanks for this, Suzi. I, like you, feel the need to keep my focus away from diversions this Lent.

susanne said...

@Ang... that's my favorite line in the poem too! what are the chances?

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